An Open Letter to Ronda Rousey


Dear Ronda,

First and foremost, I want to say I’m a huge fan.  You have singlehandedly put women on the sports map for MMA.  However, from recent articles it seems you are in need of a pep talk from a female friend.  Let me be that friend.

There was an article published online where you told your mother your new mantra was “FTA”.  (For frequent readers of this blog who might be under 18, we will just say that stands for “Forget Them All”).  I agree with your mom.  You don’t need to use this mantra. 

Look, I know you are dealing with a lot on your shoulders with your upcoming fight against, “what’s-her-face”.  You are angry from your loss in November of 2015.  You are angry because people tried to put you down or tried to steal your shine.  Let me put things in perspective for you for what it’s worth.

Nobody will really know the name of the person you fought 15 years from now.  Heck, I don’t even remember her name now and would have to google it.  Look at what happened after that loss; you fulfilled one of my long time dreams of being on Saturday Night Live.  Note who they asked…YOU.  Not the other gal.  You.

You performed a skit in which you stood against bullies.  You know what it is like to be bullied, and I don’t see anyone else performing that skit better than you.  That skit was so funny, I showed it to the kids I help teach.  

After your loss you admitted to depression and facing a lot of dark areas.  You opened up a lot of minds with that statement.  You could have kept it secret, but instead you let it out there into a world where there is still a stigma attached to it.  You helped others to see it is okay to be dealing with stuff in a dark way, which is completely normal even though society tells us it isn’t.

You say your new mantra is for your nieces, family and fans who haven’t given up on you.  Ronda, I haven’t given up on you.  I will say this though; if you hadn’t had the backlash from “haters”, would you have had the anger to fuel you for this next bout?  By saying, “FTA” to te opposition, you are only proving them right.  You are proving hate is a way of life.  You are feeding into what the other teams want; which is you getting angry enough that you sabotage yourself.  They are betting on the false hope that your anger will open up any weaknesses they can exploit.  Don’t let them do this.

In a strange way, anger can get you through some tough times (trust me, I’ve had some).  Be thankful for the anger, but don’t let that anger dull anything that makes you happy.  Don’t let the anger get in the way of your passion for the sport.  Ultimately this is why you are still in.  Not just any woman would voluntarily train as hard as you do to get a few licks to the face.  You obviously are putting yourself at risk because there is something you love about the sport.  

Prove the others wrong.  You aren’t fueled just by anger.  You are also fueled by love.  Love for the sport, love for your family, love for your friends and your loyal fans.  Never give up, never give in.

Merry Christmas and Sincerely yours,

Quirky Girl

Degrees of Deodorant Willingness

At my second job I was putting up sale tags and wound up in the deodorant aisle.  As the tags went up as quick as my fingers could put them there, I noticed a trend.  Almost all of the men’s deodorants have something to do with movement, and generally being active.  I think the Degree company is assuming too much of your average American male.

I’m not saying we’re an under-active country as a whole, but if you look at us, most of us work desk jobs, sit in traffic, and come home to a T.V. dinner while we watch Netflix. (Again, I say most of us.)

I-got-a-new-deodorant-today

As I kept putting the tags up I started wondering how well their marketing tactics worked.  If said person is sitting at a desk wiling away their hours in front of a computer screen, if they happen to quickly stretch and flap their arms, will their deodorant make them think of being on Mt. Everest?  Will they honestly feel like they are having an Adventure?

Since when did we start looking at antiperspirants as a means of escape from everyday life?  If it were me, I would name one, “couch potato”, something that relates to everyone.  (Let’s be honest, we’ve all been one at one point, and if you haven’t you’re about to be.)  The other one would be named, “mothballs” for the person reading comic books and stuck living in their grandma’s basement.

As I started writing this and doing research, the Axe brand also has some curious names, names like; “Twist”, “Apollo”, “Phoenix”, “Anarchy”.  I couldn’t figure out if Axe was marketing to the X-men, Greek gods or 90‘s drug dealers who still use pagers.  At least Old Spice isn’t taking themselves too seriously…

Old Spice

I started noticing the women’s versions were all named after flowers, fruit or a state of mind, like “Peace”.  Since when has a woman ever been truly at peace?  Even if she says she is, she’s always thinking or worried about something.  There is even a deodorant named “Daisy”.  Just being honest here, I burn through deodorants like a rapper burns through money.  I can assure you by the end of the 8 hour guarantee promised on the label of a favorite deodorant, through one day of work, working out (boxing), cleaning etc. I will not be as fresh as a “Daisy”.

 

Deodorant

     If you could make a deodorant what would you name it?  Why?

Out of left field

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Baseball was the first sport I ever learned; that is if you don’t count the “bop bag” where I partially learned how to box at the age of three. Both my parents were baseball fans growing up and often if we couldn’t watch the game on television my dad would listen to it on the radio while he worked in the garage or on another project. I grew up imagining I would one day become famous like Ozzie Smith.

Many summers were spent in backyards with neighborhood kids while we perfected our techniques. In our neighborhood, it was primarily boys and constantly the older neighbor kid two houses down was setting the bar as far as being a young athlete was concerned. He was one of the catalysts for my softball career in the summer of 1989.

That summer I felt like a real kid. All the other summers felt like practice leading up to this one, the one where I would become awesome. At least becoming awesome is what I thought was going to happen.

My parents officially enrolled me in our local summer softball league. In small towns the teams are usually funded by local businesses, therefore whatever team you are placed on, you are wearing a shirt emblazoned with the logo of the sponsor on the front with a random number on the back. I had never been so thrilled in my life to be a part of something bigger than myself and to wear the number six on my back.

My first and only summer as a softball player started out with a bang. One game I managed to get an R.B.I. and often I would do well but somehow half way through the summer I hit a slump. My bold promise of becoming awesome resulted in me being called “meat-head” by one team member, but not for my baseball skills or lack thereof, but for trying to join in on conversation I wasn’t welcomed in on apparently.

This is when the slump started, when I tried to be more social. My parents having noticed the decline in my skills tried to help me. Often times we would practice in the back yard working on throwing and catching and last but not least, batting and batting stances. My lack of awesomeness in this category resulted in an umpire feeling threatened. Let me explain.

My parents are very supportive, and at times potentially loud supporters when sports are involved. My first name is not a common name but apparently my name was also shared by the umpire that night. There I stood at home plate holding my bat barely above my shoulders. My parents were in the bleachers just behind the dug out screaming, rooting me on, when all of a sudden they yell my first name followed by, “PUT YOUR HANDS UP!” Unfortunately I couldn’t hear them the first few times because I was concentrating, and again they shouted my first name followed by “PUT YOUR HANDS UP!”

The umpire, looking very confused from behind home plate slowly started to put her hands up only to realize the people threatening and yelling at her to put her hands up, were actually parents talking to a plain looking tom-boy, wearing a Batman baseball cap with a poor batting stance. After the game a lot of explaining was done and even though everyone laughed off what happened, it didn’t earn my team extra points.

So, I wasn’t the greatest batter and maybe I just needed practice. Maybe my path to greatness was not meant to be discovered for my hitting abilities but maybe for what came later in the summer. The coach placed me at home plate; I was going to be a catcher.

When we would arrive for a game, typically we would go a few fields over, find a partner and practice catching and throwing with them until game time, we would get warmed-up. Just before the game, and after warming up, is when I found out about my fate. This was the first time, in my entire life I ever remember getting butterflies in my stomach, except they were less like butterflies and more like tiny mildly agitated badgers poking my stomach from the inside out.

You see, on my team, our pitcher was a young lady whose birth name was that of a well known muscle car and she had the throwing arm to match the speed of the car she was named after. Now you can see the cause of the butterflies in my stomach. This would be the first time anything has ever come toward me that fast with my whole body and my left gloved hand as the target. As the night grew on the pain in the pit of my stomach wouldn’t go away. With each growing inning I crouched at home plate afraid her fast pitch was going to channel itself through my stomach leaving a burrowed hole through my backside, through the chain-link fence behind me and into the audience where they would have to duck and cover as if a smoking meteorite were heading their way. Luckily nothing eventful like that happened, but it took forever for the butterflies to go away.

Just like Thomas Edison found 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb, I found 10,000 ways to not be awesome that summer. Everyone has a path, everyone has their own awesomeness, I was on the path, it just wasn’t my time yet and certainly not through baseball.

What path did you expect to lead you to awesomeness as a kid? What did you think you were going to be great at because you had a love for it only to find out through the process of trying, you were terrible?

This boxer’s rebellion

Its funny when opportunities present themselves. Opportunities usually present themselves when you are ready for them, not when you want them.

Put em’ up, put em up…

Since moving from St. Louis I’ve been struggling to find an adequate gym supporting women’s boxing. One looked very promising, but then unfortunately once I moved here, it was so far out-of-town it wasn’t worth training there after spending the gas money to get there.

The search for a new gym began; by phone at least. One call a drunk man answered slurring.  I asked him how much the gym was and he said, “For you its free.” There was a hint in his voice that said he possibly wasn’t taking me seriously.  At the time, I didn’t know if it was possibly a promotional thing for the gym; like a first time is free kind of thing like my old boxing gym in St. Louis.   I replied in a Polly Anna like regard, “Really?”

(Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Why did you continue to talk?  The slurring should have been your first clue.”  To this thoughtful inquiry of yours dear readers I reply, “I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.”  That and maybe the man was a professional boxer and had suffered one too many blows to the head, hence his slurring. Some of you  are probably still wondering why I continued to talk, because if he was any good he wouldn’t have received so many blows to the head.  To that I say, just deal with it, I’m too polite to immediately be rude to anyone.)

The man went on to say something without any discernible syllables or letters, with some slight laughter.  I hung up on him. He then realized I was serious, called back, I hit ignore on my phone and he left a slightly more sober message with gym details and prices.

The search continued.      I had called another gym I found online and they offered classes specifically for women. When calling this place I inquired with the nice sounding (a.k.a. not drunk) man  on the other end of the phone. He questioned, “Are you asking for your children?” For some reason that stung a little bit.  Obviously he could tell I was older, and obviously old enough to have children near the age to start training for something like boxing.  Seeing as I have no children,  I had to realize his question was an honest mistake, and then carried on.

“No, I’m asking for myself.”
“We don’t offer those classes anymore.”
Surprised I asked, “Well but you say you do online?”
“Well we used to but the ladies quit showing up, we just can’t get them to commit.”

Then he went on to say how they, “the ladies”, liked to change it up and do Pilates or Yoga, claiming this is why they quit. I assured him saying, “Well to be honest, I’m very dedicated, I was going three to four times a week when I was living in St. Louis.” (Bear in mind this was before the depression had hit sometime around September.) He had asked what my goal was by going through this training, and I told him honestly; to become an Olympic boxer. He then started to pressure me and asked when I could come into the gym. At that point in time my life was so hectic I didn’t want to make a promise that could not be kept. He then replied, “See, we can’t get the women to commit!” Again I assured him of my dedication, and he realized he had messed up and missed his opportunity to possibly train a female boxer.

After that particular phone call I felt defeated. Again I had entered a world that was not normal for someone like me. Boxing is typically not a female sport, I get that. However, it is no reason to laugh at someone or put them down for wanting to pursue a dream.

In the past couple of months I entertained the idea of getting a new bag and getting a stand to accompany it, however it was a bit costly.  Fast forward to last week. My mom and I were having a conversation about points we had racked up on a rewards card. Knowing I had just paid off one of my cards I realized, “Hmmm, maybe I have some points?” I checked and sure enough there was quite a bit on there. Enough rewards points for a boxing bag, or enough for a stand but not enough for both. I still had them send me the rewards in the form of gift cards because I knew at some point I could use the gift cards for something.

Somehow miraculously, today my parents on a whim decided to go shopping at Goodwill. Guess what was there? An elongated Muay Thai like boxing bag, much like the one I was accustomed to boxing with in St. Louis; in the color blue. It’s close to the blue color I recently put in my hair, coincidence? I think not.

Also today, in the mail…were the gift cards. Now that I have a bag, I can get the stand virtually free and get back to doing something I missed, loved and needed to do. I think maybe this was all a planned matter of timing for a path I’m supposed to take in life.  Maybe this is someone’s way of saying, “Get back to being you.” Boxing is something intrinsic to me, just as much as writing and doing artwork is. When life is out of balance, it is hard for me to do any of these three things. Something tells me, I’m in the blue (in a very good way) and things are going to start looking up very soon.

What “gifts” have you received in a matter of good timing? Do you think it was by your own work and perseverance or coincidence?

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